Name: Dr Ding Eng Li
Position: General Manager
Company: Columbia Asia Hospital-Iskandar Puteri (CAH-IP)
Dr Ding Eng Li graduated from Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung, Indonesia with a Medical Degree in 2006 to pursue her dreams of not only becoming a doctor, but also to help people in an incredibly significant way. She found herself starting her career in medicine at a busy general hospital in Kuala Lumpur before being transferred to Hospital Sultanah Aminah Johor Bahru a year later as a medical officer in surgical and pediatric surgical before she took the opportunity to venture into the private hospital industry at Columbia Asia Hospital – Iskandar Puteri (CAH-IP) under Columbia Asia Group in 2010. She was promoted to Chief Medical Officer of Accident & Emergency (A&E) where she not only treated patients but also managed the department. Dr Ding was promoted to the General Manager position after serving nine years in the hospital’s A&E department, where she can contribute more significantly and make a difference in the medical industry.
Tell us more about Columbia Asia Hospital-Iskandar Puteri (CAH-IP) and its unique selling points.
Columbia Asia Hospital Iskandar Puteri (CAH-IP) is a mid-sized hospital located near a residential area in Bukit Indah. Columbia Asia as a group offers optimum and affordable medical services through its hospitals and clinics equipped with modern amenities and highly-trained doctors and nurses, making quality private healthcare more accessible and efficient for patients.
The hospital may be smaller in comparison to other private hospitals but the concept behind its simplicity leads the way towards healthcare trends in the future – efficient, accessible and cost-effective. As such, its objective is to provide communities with effective healthcare at excellent value, and to be the preferred choice for families and businesses.
Recently, CAH-IP was named the winner of The BrandLaureate World BestBrands Award 2019 in Healthcare-Private Hospital category. The award was presented to Puan Rahani Yaacob, Columbia Asia Regional General Manager (Southern) by BrandLaureate Chairman, Tan Sri Rainer Althoff during the gala dinner and awards ceremony in Singapore on 31st October 2019.
What is the most important element in running a hospital?
I would say that what is most important is the patients’ experience and safety. From appointment bookings to collecting medication, we strive to provide excellence care by our specialists, nursing team and support staff.
We also try to keep the hospital facilities up-to-date to meet the demands of our patients.
What are among the facilities provided?
CAH-IP is a 135-bedded multi-specialty hospital offering exceptional inpatient and outpatient services. It was built in accordance with the Columbia Asia prototype community hospital design.
It is equipped with four state-of-the art operating theatres, an endoscopic unit, four delivery suites, cath lab and an ER. Staffed by 27 resident consultants and medical officers, the team is supported by more than 400 nursing and support staffs.
CAH-IP is also accredited by the Malaysian Society for Quality of Health (MSQH) in 2017.
The specialist services available here include Cardiology, Internal Medicine, Ear, Nose & Throat, Neurology, General Surgery, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic, Radiology, Rheumatology, Anaesthesiology, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Paediatric, Urology, Psychiatric, Dental and Plastic Surgery.
How do you manage expectations from the public? Private vs GH
One of the most important factors is the waiting time. The perception and expectation of the public with regards to private versus general hospital is that they do not have to wait so long to get treatment or collect medication.
We try to improve and optimise processes to be more efficient for patients and caregivers to have a better experience.
Earlier, Columbia Asia Group introduced a smartphone application called the Columbia Asia Mobile App, which promotes easy-booking, manages doctor appointments, provides easy access to your medical reports and most importantly, keeps track of your health trends and many more.
What are the CSR activities conducted by CAH-IP?
Every year, we host a charity run for a special cause. We also host Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigns in collaboration with the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA) every year, to raise funds for the association.
This programme is part of CAH-IP’s social responsibility initiative aimed to provide awareness and education to the community on the risk factors and symptoms of breast cancer and the importance of seeking medical evaluation. Early detection of breast cancer is vital to improve survival, lower morbidity rate and reduce the cost of care.
Apart from that, we are active in organising Basic Health Screenings and Health Talks by our Medical Officers & Consultants in and around Johor every month in an effort to spread awareness on health-related matters to the public.
Next year, we are planning to host a medical camp and a series of basic health screenings/health talks in conjunction with our 10th anniversary.
What advice would you give to aspiring medical students?
I must say that medicine is extremely challenging. There must be focus and diligence in school and study. Students must optimise their learning journey to obtain the basic knowledge of medicine in order to build a strong foundation as a physician. From that strong foundation, students may reinforce their knowledge by reading journals and keeping themselves updated with the evolution of medicine. Experience is also key in medicine. The more you see patients, recognise the signs and symptoms, the more you will be able to identify your patient’s ailments.
What is your take on alternative medicine or TCM?
In my honest opinion, I am not a fan of alternative medicine, especially the ones you have to consume because some might be detrimental to your health.
Alternative medicine may interfere with conventional medicinal treatments. It can be very dangerous too if it’s used in place of conventional treatments, and be even life-threatening. This is partly because you’re not getting proven treatments for your condition. Therefore, is very important for the patient to seek advice from their physicians.
Some herbs, supplements, and vitamins also have potential side effects. These substances aren’t regulated by the government in the same way that drugs are. And, although many claim to be “natural,” this doesn’t always mean they’re safe. Ingredients, dosing, and manufacturing processes can vary widely from product to product.
What do you do in your free time?
Being a mother of three beautiful children while juggling a full-time job at a hospital is not an easy task. During my free time, I will always try to spend time with my family.
Ideally, if I have some free time to spare, I enjoy gardening or baking. And if I have the opportunity and extra time, I would love to go for a hike or perhaps scuba dive, as I am a licensed diver.